How Discovery used Pulsar to identify the key personas of their TLC audience

1st August 2016

Discovery Communications has known for some time that its programming resonates strongest with users whose social media behavior tends to be Facebook-first, forming Facebook personas. This is a particular challenge for the TLC brand: while competitor networks appeal to urban and coastal audiences, TLC’s programming resonates with a culturally-varied heartland audience that’s best brought to life through a mainstream, representative data source.

Therefore, a social audience insight that ignores Facebook data excludes a high percentage of Discovery’s audience. TLC wanted to uncover similarities and differences between competitors’ audiences and their own with the aim of finding creative solutions to a differentiated program development and brand positioning around audience personas.

The Pulsar team worked with Discovery to design a custom search of Facebook data. The analysis focused on conversations among women who watch TLC and its competitors, segmenting audiences by fundamental demographics as well as life stages and affinities. The study design considered both network-level and show specific conversations, enabling the team to parse multiple dimensions of discussion around TLC and competitor properties.

By leveraging self-reported and partner-matched data from the platform, the team was able to pierce the echo chamber of “super fans” who’ve engaged directly with brand pages – instead using TLC’s broader Facebook audience as a sounding board for a true picture of social viewership. The distinct TLC personas that were realized from this research will not only help marketers at Discovery fine-tune messaging in the near future, but also serve as a clarifying agent for TLC development teams when filtering ideas for new television shows.

“Pulsar’s platform uses a minimalist, modular interface that makes the capabilities and limitations of Facebook’s instantly understandable, and renders the results easily customizable and exportable.” — John Feehan, Research & Social Insights, Discovery Channel